Acadia Senior College

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Can and Should We Manage Growing Congestion of Mount Desert Island?

February 10, 2023

8:30 a.m.

Havana Restaurant, Bar Harbor

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NOTE: The in-person event at Havana is now FULL. However, you may still register for the Zoom discussion which begins at 9:00 a.m. When you register you may also choose to join the waiting list for the in-person event.

Our beloved 110-square-mile island, deeply blessed by nature, has long been valued by many, from natives to summer colonists to day tourists. Within the 500-mile radius from Cadillac are 100 million souls and as many autos. Our Acadia National Park now hosts more than three million visits each year. Cruise ships land thousands on many days. Diverse users contend for space in our bounding bays. Most waterfront is privately held. Many who would live here cannot. Employers would hire more but do not because there are no beds. What to do?

Should we have faith that markets will temper these tensions in the best ways possible and let that magic work? Or should our citizens, businesses, organizations, and governments envision and enable a desirable future in which we shape island life through regulations that reduce congestion and create the healthy community we desire?

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This event is open to the public. The cost to attend in person at Havana is $10 per person which includes coffee, tea, and pastries.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the discussion starts at 9:00 a.m.

Evan Richert is the retired owner of Richert Planning, a town and regional land use planning consulting firm. He worked with public and private clients in Northern New England on planning and development projects that ranged from neighborhoods to regions, including as consulting planner to the Town of Orono. From 1995 to 2002 he was Director of the State Planning Office under Gov. Angus King. Prior to that he was co-owner of Market Decisions, Inc., a market research and planning company, and Planning Director for the City of South Portland. 

He serves on the boards of directors of UpStart Maine, Inc. (a coalition of entrepreneur support programs in the Bangor Region), and two business incubators in the Bangor Region; and is an emeritus board member of GrowSmart Maine.

Born in Bar Harbor, Eben Salvatore is a 9th generation Mainer. He is a direct descendent of the Pineo family, a well known Bar Harbor family from the late 1880's. Eben has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years. He has also been a Board member of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce for more than 20 years, and has a long history of advocating for the business community in Bar Harbor. Currently, he also sits on the YMCA Board, is a member of the Cruise Ship Committee, is a member of the Parking Solutions Task Force, and is Chair of the Business Round Table. He was also recently elected to the Warrant Committee, a position he has held previously.

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Can and Should We Manage Growing Congestion of Mount Desert Island?

Conspiracy Theories and Theories of Conspiracy

February 24, 2023

12:00 Noon

Online Zoom presentation

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In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in the study of conspiracy theories, much of it driven by growing concerns about how the recent widespread acceptance of such ideas in the United States is undermining the foundation of our democratic governance. Whether it’s Pizzagate, QAnon, 5G, or vaccine microchips, just to name a few, there is a worry that such beliefs are not only irrational, but potentially dangerous.

However, this is hardly the first time that such ideas have gained salience in American politics. In fact, as Richard Hofstadter noted sixty years ago, American politics has always been home to a certain strain of “paranoid style” arguments. Similarly, the study of these conspiracy theories also has a long history as well, one that spans a wide array of disciplines and methodological approaches. For decades, historians, philosophers, political scientists, psychologists, anthropologists, and many others have wrestled with a series of fundamental and often intractable questions about the role conspiracy plays in our politics.

Why do people believe in seemingly absurd conspiracy theories? Should we dismiss all conspiracy theories as unreasonable or irrational? What does it mean to label something a “conspiracy theory” in the first place?  Is there a danger in the widespread acceptance of conspiracy theories? What about the danger in dismissing them?  Previous generations of scholars and researchers found these questions to be more challenging than they may seem at first glance.  By looking back to the past, perhaps we can glean some insight from their work that will help us make sense of our world today.

This presentation will be offered on Zoom only beginning at noon. You will receive the Zoom link the day before the event.

This event is free and open to the public.

Jamie McKown is the Wiggins Chair of Government and Polity and Associate Academic Dean at College of the Atlantic. He has been teaching and writing about conspiracy theories and their role in American political history for the past 20 years, dating back to his graduate student days. Prior to teaching at College of the Atlantic, Dr. McKown was a visiting professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He also previously worked as a college debate coach as well as a political campaign adviser and consultant. He holds a BA in Political Science from Emory University, an MA in Political Communication from Georgia State, and a PhD in Rhetoric from Northwestern University.

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Conspiracy Theories and Theories of Conspiracy